Archive for August, 2011

Falling and Rising (Psalm 3)

August 21, 2011 2 comments

David is falling. The crack in his house fractures into an ever-widening crevice, and he is falling, falling, falling into that dark pit. Civil War splits his kingdom as Absalom, his son, occupies his throne, claims his title, and promises to usher in the kingdom that David could not. Lifelong allies betray David, offering allegiance to Absalom.

An age ago, he took Bathsheba and sent Uriah to his death. This fault line struck to the heart of his own family and now his own kingdom. Everything that can shake is being shook. David is falling.

1 Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many are they who rise up against me.
2 Many are they who say of me,
“There is no help for him in God.” Selah*

His enemies are rising and David is falling. Falling, falling, falling into the grace of God.

3 But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
4 I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah

The depth of YHWH’s grace reaches deeper than the depths of David’s sin. David falls into the grace of God. As his kingdom comes crashing down, it falls into YHWH’s protection.
David lifts up his voice, “Shield me, Glory me, Head me.” YHWH lifts up David. In the covenantal faithfulness of the Lord, David can rest.

5 I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me all around.

In the midst of surrounding enemies, he can fall back into the trustworthy arms of the Lord. He lays down. Sleeps. Arises.

David is acting out the pattern of God’s beloved.

Laying. Sleeping. Awaking.
Dying. Resting. Arising.

In his prayer, in his bones, in his heart of hearts, David acts out in an imperfect way the perfect and faithful response of Jesus to the Father. For Jesus lays down in the midst of His enemies. Falling. Falling. Falling into the hands of sin, evil, hatred and death. Jesus humbles himself before the Father, before humanity, before all creation, and dies a criminal’s death, bearing the sin of David and the world. His body lies in the tomb until the Father calls Him forth by His Spirit. The Father exalts Him above every name, every power, every thing in all creation. At His exalted name, all will fall and confess, “Jesus as Lord.”

Dying. Resting. Arising.
Laying. Sleeping. Awaking.

Every night we join David in rehearsing the pattern. We lay down in the grace of God. We sleep in the grace of God. We awake by the grace of God. Every night we rehearse the pattern of humiliation and exaltation, of lowering and rising, of death and life.

We are called into cross shaped lives. We are called to this fellowship of humiliation. Like David, we must also walk in the places of naked trust: the valley of the death. Like David, our enemies will surround us. Fear will raise its voice. Condemnation will shout aloud, “There is no help for him in God.” Voices of discouragement will surround us.

From the place of humiliation, we look up to our Savior, “Lord, Shield me, Glory me, Head me.” In David, in Christ, we find our prayer,

7 Arise, O Lord;
Save me, O my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone;
You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
8 Salvation belongs to the Lord.
Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah

Even as we lift up our voice, the Lord lifts up our heads. He shields his people in embrace of His covenantal faithfulness. Nothing can penetrate the encircling love of God. We rise with Christ, and learn to trust, knowing one we will truly lay down to rest. And together we will truly arise into the dawn of His eternal blessing.

* Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Categories: Bible
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